Saturday, March 1, 2014

Permeable Pavers

By Lani Walker

            In my Sustainable Landscape Practice class, we are learning about Permeable Pavers.  This project I decided to review was the use of Permeable Pavers at a commercial store, Diamond Vogel Paints in Duluth, Minnesota.  Permeable Paving is a sustainable technique of paving with a base and sub-base that allow the filtering of storm water through the surface, which reduces surface runoff.  This paving technique effectively traps and suspends solids while filtering pollutants from the water.  While Permeable Pavers can be used in many applications, this commercial store used Permeable Pavers for their parking lot. 
            In this example, the pavers at Diamond Vogel Paints were installed in 2003 and are still in use today.  The motivation for this project came from local regulations.  This parking lot has an Impervious Surface Limit due to its location within the Lake Superior Costal Zone.  The current manager of Diamond Vogel Paints, Paul Reinier, says that the Permeable Pavers cost about three times as much as a regular parking lot, however the environmental benefits are much greater than that of a regular parking lot.  Reinier also says that the pavers have held up well and proved to be a successful technique for dealing with storm water runoff. These Permeable Pavers filter the water, collect it in an underdrain, and lead the water to a grassy area before entering the storm sewer.  Due to the paver’s success and durability, this business could be an example for other local businesses who are contemplating installing permeable pavers.   

  • Permeable Pavers reduces runoff because they allow the movement of storm water through the surface. 
  • Permeable Pavers effectively traps suspended solids and filters pollutants from the water.
  • Permeable pavements may give urban trees the rooting space they need to grow to a full and healthy size because a ‘structural-soil’ pavement base can be used.  The ‘structural soil’ combines structural aggregate with soil; a porous surface that allows air and water to the rooting zone.  However, in this example, there are no trees in the parking lot, but that option would have been available.

  • Permeable Pavers can be indistinguishable from regular pavers; however, they can be very attractive and make a regular parking lot more visually appealing.

  • Aside of the environmental purposes, these permeable pavers serve as a commercial parking lot.  The pavers function differently than regular paving by filtering and moving storm water out of the parking lot.
  • This parking lot does not contribute to the flooding which might occur in the coastal area because the pavers redirect water to the storm sewer.
  • Using the Permeable Pavers allows this parking lot to fall beneath its Impervious Surface Limit for the coastal area.

  • This example could improve the social atmosphere of the parking lot because it is a better place park now that water does not fill up in the parking lot, resulting in happier customers/employees who would have to walk through the parking lot. 

  • The manager said that installing the permeable pavers system cost about 3x what a regular parking lot would.  So, this system might or might not have been the best economic decision. 
  • However, having a parking lot which is free of water would result in happier customers. This improvement in social conditions of the parking lot could boost business  sales.  

  • Regular paved parking lots generally are uncomfortable places to be because they attract heat in the summer and become icy in the wintertime.  These pavers could improve the psychological well-being of the managers, employees, and customers because the parking lot is a more enjoyable place to be that is also environmentally conscious.

IMAGE:  Section through Permeable Pavers by Author.


Project Information:  ‘Pervious Pavement at Diamond Vogel Paints’

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